Commercial Composting

Compostable/degradable food packaging

Biodegradable packaging is made from polymers derived from renewable raw materials instead of oil, such as cellulose, soy protein or milk and especially starch (from vegetable sources such as potato, corn or rice, to make plastarch). Plastarch material is biodegradable after use, and the pulp can be formed into useful shapes by injection moulding or thermoforming followed by drying.

They can decompose in suitable composting conditions of warmth, wet and oxygen into simple chemicals, including carbon dioxide gas (or to methane if oxygen is restricted, as in landfill or an enclosed anaerobic digester).

If material otherwise useful as food is being turned into plastics there is direct competition for growing space and the oil input to those farming practices in fuel and petrochemical sprays should be considered before concluding that bioplastics are 'sustainable'.

Waterproof and heat tolerant PLA plastic packaging made from polylactic acid is transparent and resembles oil-derived PET (polyethylene terephthalate). It is claimed to be compostable, but only with success in anaerobic digesters which are not usually used for packaging materials.  PLA packaging (using resin recycling ID code 7) is accidentally mixed with PET (using code1), because of similar appearance, which then makes the PET lower value for recycling and unviable . Read more on the resulting debate.

Starch is used to make paper-plate or bowl substitutes that can be coloured with food dyes, will compost once soiled by food; and starch is also used to make lightweight packaging padding as a polystyrene substitute.

Compostable packaging suppliers

The following is a partial list of compostable packaging suppliers in New Zealand. In providing this list, One Planet

does not endorse or guarantee the suppliers named.


FREE PHONE: 0800 PACK IT (0800 722 548)
FREE FAX: 0800 377 758
paper bags


Freephone:0800 465 666
Biodegradable bags, cups, clamshells, recycled cardboard shelving

BCS Foodpak Ltd

Showroom: Unit C, 57
McLaughlins Road,
Tel: 09 277 0104
Fax: 03 277 0115
Biodegradable cups


Tel: 0800 GO 4 ECO
Compostable cups, cutlery, clamshells, plates, bowls, napkins, lids, food boxes

Eden Enterprises

116 Cook Street
New Plymouth 4310
Tel (06) 751 3229
100% Biodegradable corn starch products, plates, cups, bowls, straws, bags, etc. Products range & prices available online

Elldex Packaging Ltd

Philippa Wang (Auckland)
Tel 09 415 6747
Fax 09 415 6727
Range of biodegradable packaging including bags, cups etc


Box 83 132, Edmonton, Auckland
Tel 09 834 5340
Fax 09 834 5341
Mob: 027 410 4344
Biodegradable cornstarch bags, potatopak plates, bowls etc, PLA lined paper cups

Innocent Packaging

Tel 09 523 3870
Compostable cups, cutlery, clamshells, plates, soup bowls, noodle boxes, napkins, lids, straws

Kiwi Greenpak Ltd
Biodegradable cups, plates, bowls, clamshells etc

Potatopak NZ Ltd

P O Box 746
Blenheim 7240
Tel (03) 572 8977
100% Compostable potato starch products, plates, bowls, punnets, trays, cutlery etc. Products range & prices available online

Packaging House

91 Kerrs Road
Wiri, Auckland
Tel 263 1150
Fax 263 1151

Range of biodegradable products including clamshells, cups and bags

Additions can be made to this supplier list: contact us